MASS hosts first I AM ANTIRACIST panel with admissions, orientation
The Office of Multicultural Academic Student Services (MASS) hosted the first of seven I AM ANTIRACIST presentations on Jan. 25 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.
The presentation, which focused on admissions and orientation, was hosted by the Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Recruitment Patricia Young and the Director of New Student Orientation Amy McPike.
They talked about Central Michigan University's Antiracist strategies in recruiting new students and what areas it wishes to improve. Young said the presentation was geared towards understanding the perspectives and experiences of students at CMU so that the university can do more for them.
"We're going to talk a little bit more about (your experiences)," she said. "When we know more, we can do better.
Young talked about how CMU has improved its application process. The application now uses more inclusive language. It no longer asks the student for their mother and father's names, instead its asks for parents or guardians. It also asks for the student's preferred name and pronouns.
"Not every student has a mother or father," Young said. "You could just put parent or legal guardian... so (that) you're not making a student at the very beginning feel uncomfortable."
Background questions pertaining to criminal charges or expulsions now have clearer language. Young said this was changed because students misunderstood the question.
"I kid you not, 99% of the responses that come back are students who got suspended for one day in high school because they were vaping the bathroom," she said. "That is not gonna prohibit a student from going to college. The questions are intended to weed out students who've done something that you don't want on our campus like sexual assault or murder."
Additionally, the application now makes it optional for a student to submit ACT or SAT test scores.
McPike continued the presentation by focusing the discussion on CMU's orientation. Before COVID-19, orientation was only offered in-person. Now, it has a virtual option McPike said benefits out of state and international students.
"If it works out better for you to do it at home, we're still going to give you a really good experience and meet you where you are," she said.
McPike also talked about how orientation is an opportunity for students to create connections and become a part of the CMU community. The goal is to make incoming students feel welcome on campus. One way of doing this is by having incoming students connect with an orientation mentor.
"My hope with every orientation session with every single student, that when they leave they have made a connection with at least one or two other people," McPike said.